In the latter years of his life, the Apostle Paul expressed that his confidence was not in himself or his many credentials and accomplishments. He had a powerful life of influence yet his confidence remained solidly in Jesus Christ.
“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh — though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more . . . . But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:3–11)
Not too many days ago, I could fully relate to these verses. At least, my confidence seemed to be in Christ and I had my usual level of energy and ambition, but today, I realize how easily I can put my confidence in my health and energy levels. About two weeks ago, my heart went into mild A-Fib again. This had not been a big issue because it didn’t slow me down much. However, last night and today I feel as if a truck is sitting on my chest. We are sitting in an airport waiting for our flight to take us home, and I feel as if I am waiting instead for Jesus to take me home.
Perhaps this is just fatigue, the kind you feel if you sleep with a pillow over your head and cannot get enough air. I hope so. Yet regardless of what is going on, the psalmist gives me words of comfort.
“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:23–28)
Paul also said about his confidence in Christ:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us . . . . our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:12–21)
Jesus, right now the prospect of having my lowly body transformed to be like Your body is appealing. Maybe a couple days sleep will change things, but at the moment, I am particularly glad that You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Also, this is a good note on which to end 2017 and begin a new year — the note of helplessness and being completely dependent upon You.